WASHINGTON, June 16 -- Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H. (2nd CD), issued the following news release:
Congresswoman Annie Kuster has introduced the Family Coverage Act, a bill to fix a glitch in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that prevents thousands of families from accessing affordable health coverage. The Family Coverage Act will help ensure that employees who do not have access to affordable job-based coverage for their families can receive premium tax credits to help pay for family coverage.
"I've always said the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, and that the 'family glitch' needs to be fixed. We need to improve affordable health care coverage for all Granite State families," said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.
"That's why I was proud to introduce the Family Coverage Act, which will help ensure that families in New Hampshire have access to premium tax credits, so they can afford high-quality health insurance. I urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation, which could increase coverage for more than 460,000 children. Furthermore, I will continue to work across the aisle to push fixes to the ACA, so that every Granite Stater can access the affordable coverage they were promised when this bill was signed into law."
Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers are required to provide "affordable" health insurance to their employees. This insurance is considered unaffordable when the employee's share of premiums for individual coverage is more than 9.5 percent of his or her annual household income.
Employees who are not offered affordable coverage can then access tax credits through the new marketplaces to help buy coverage they can afford.
Unfortunately, because of the interpretation of the law, these credits do not apply for employees who also need coverage for their families. Many times, the only option for covering spouses, children, or dependents is expensive family coverage which often pushes the employee over the 9.5 percent contribution threshold. The result is that many Granite State families miss out on premium tax credits that would make their full family coverage affordable. Kuster's bill would fix this family glitch, so these employees can receive the tax credits they need to provide full coverage for their families - at a reasonable cost.
Kuster's bill is supported by a number of organizations in New Hampshire and across the country that work to increase health care access for Granite State families, including New Hampshire Medical Society, New Hampshire Hospital Association, Bi-State Primary Care, NH Voices for Health, NH Kids Count, Small Business Majority, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children's Defense Fund, Children's Dental Health Project, Community Catalyst, Consumers Union, March of Dimes, National Health Law Program, National Immigration Law Center, First Focus Campaign for Children, and Children's Hospital Association.
"It is evident that the 'family glitch' has created barriers for New Hampshire families who need affordable coverage, based on what we've heard from brokers, navigators and other assisters. NH Voices for Health welcomes a solution because all families deserve access to affordable coverage and because healthy families make for healthy communities in the Granite State," said Lisa Kaplan Howe, policy director for NH Voices for Health.
Representative Kuster's bill is cosponsored by Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Matthew Cartwright (PA), Joe Crowley (NY), Lloyd Doggett (TX), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Jim McDermott (WA), Patrick Murphy (FL), Beto O'Rourke (TX), Collin Peterson (MN), Chellie Pingree (ME), David Scott (GA), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Krysten Sinema (AZ), Bill Enyart (IL), and Peter Welch (VT). Companion legislation to this bill has been introduced by Senator Al Franken (MN).
Since she took office, Congresswoman Annie Kuster has worked across the aisle to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act, and she shares her constituents' concerns about many aspects of the law. She voted in favor of the Keep Your Health Plan Act to allow people whose plans were being canceled due to ACA requirements to keep their plans for an additional year.
She also cosponsored the Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act, which will help small businesses provide their employees with health insurance by expanding affordability tax credits for small employers.
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